Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reason to Worship!

The first sight that greeted me, as I entered the kitchen this morning, was Matthew seated at the table eating his breakfast.   He was wearing wireless headphones and was obviously enjoying both the food and the music.  Instead of turning the music off before leaving he handed me the headphones so I could listen.  He and I enjoy the same styles of music; most of which is worship to God, not just about God.
The song playing was telling Papa that He is my fountain, my source of life and refreshment.  Listening and then making the words my own to my Heavenly Father brought refreshment to my soul.
What a way to begin your day!!

One by one everyone left the house.  Ray headed off to therapy, then Tim and finally Mindy went to their prospective jobs.  The house was mine and Papa's!
Instead of headphones, I could crank up the speakers and allow the music to drawn my full attention to my Gracious, Glorious God.
It was lovely.  That is all I am saying, as it was Jesus and my special time, just the two of us.

I will share a few thoughts that He revealed to me during this delightful time.

At one point I was reflecting upon Him as my Peace and Comforter.  A picture formed in my mind of Him laying a thick, downy blanket over me.  It was more than ample to cover all of me.  This is important to me because at nearly five foot eleven inches I have spent many years trying to find things long enough to do the job of covering me properly!
Papa's blanket not only covers me, but is light, yet warm and seems to embrace me.  It is His Peace and He never removes it.  It is mine (ours) permanently.
In the fourteenth chapter of John Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, not let it be fearful."
He leaves it with us, He gives it to us, so it is ours forever.  He is not One to take a gift back, if we seem to "lose it" it only means that we are not appropriating it for ourselves.  His peace is always available.

A song came up on the roster that spoke of the Cross; the shadow of the Cross to be specific.  As it played I reflected on the Cross and the transformation that it brings to each one of us as we let its shadow fall upon us. 
Another picture formed in my mind.
Normally a shadow is by nature out of the light.  What casts the shadow blocks the light.  However, when you step the shadow of the Cross falls upon you, you find yourself in the Light!  The Light that is encountered in that shadow is life giving.  It illumines your heart, mind and soul!
You see our God is Light.  James tells us that He is the "Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow."

Why would we go anywhere else.  As Peter told Jesus, "LORD, to whom else would we go?  You have the Words of Life."
Yes, the Words of Life and Light and Peace and Comfort!
Praise His Holy Name!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do You See?

The words rang out, as if spoke aloud.  They seemed to stand alone.
"Do you see this woman?"

The story is found in the seventh chapter of Luke.  Jesus was dining at a Pharisee, Simon's home.  During the meal an "immoral woman" entered with a vial of very expensive perfume.  She wept before Jesus, her tears falling on his feet. 
You can be sure that if she had approached the owner of the home, she would have found herself promptly put out and not gently.  Any righteous person would not have had anything to do with such a one, which is exactly what Simon was thinking to himself.  Did I say righteous?  Self-righteous is much more appropriate.
Jesus did not send her away, He did not reject her.   He was not repulsed by her nor did He look with distaste as her tears fell on Him. 
No, He knew why she was there.  This broken woman knew that He was the one to come to with her brokenness.  She knew that He was worthy of her devotion. 
She did not stop with tears, but dried His feet with her hair, kissed his feet and then anointed them with her perfume.

Jesus asked the question of Simon. 

Jesus saw this woman, really saw her.  He saw a precious life that had great value.  It was a scarred life, whose heart had sought love and acceptance for a long time.  He knew that she had come to Him because she had discovered that He alone could heal the scars and meet her heart's longings.
The Pharisee saw the results of all her disappointment and pain and looked no further.

God isn't interested in mere externals, He is interested in the heart.   Papa knows our hearts.  He knows that is where the real person resides. 
When The LORD has sent Samuel to anoint a new king of Israel, Samuel was inclined to go with someone who looked like king material, but God explained that He looks beyond the outer appearance.  He chose the one whose heart was His.  That was David.

Jesus saw the person this woman was intended to be.  He knew the good plans He had for her and He saw that she was giving Him her heart.  So He gave her what she truly needed.  He gave her forgiveness.  He told her that her faith had made the difference.

Where did her faith come from?  Had it suddenly happened?  No.  She had been loved on a bit.  She had witnessed love in action.  She had seen Jesus.

So why did Papa draw my attention to the question Jesus addressed to Simon?

As a reminder to be in the moment, so I don't miss the one He has right before me.  He sees them, do I?
He would have me be focused; one person at a time.  He is.
He was reminding me to love the one in front of me.  He does.
He wants others to see Him.   He wants others to experience His love.
In His Kingdom that happens through His children.

Every single person is valued by my God; may I see them, as He does!
May they see Him and experience His love. 
May it be evident that I am His child!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


As is our custom, every evening I read the devotional "Our Daily Bread" and its accompanying scripture to my honey.  The Bible reading was, in part, the same scripture that graces the top of this page.  We use the Life Recovery Bible which is the New Living Translation.  It is simply more contemporary language, without losing the meaning of the scripture.
The words were a joy to speak and I thought that I should share them here.  I wonder how many have ever read the passage that opens this blog.  It is a treasure not to be overlooked!

"But thank God!  He has made us His captives and continues to lead us along in Christ's triumphal procession.  Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.  Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God......"
Isn't that lovely?!  We are captivated by our God, who includes us in celebrating the victory that Jesus has won!  The privilege is ours to share His sweet fragrance everywhere we go!   That fragrance begins to permeate us and reminds the Father of His Son!  What a joy!

Sunday mornings are a challenge for me.  That is, if I want to get to church.
Trying to get my husband up, fed and exercised takes time.  My prospects wane if he doesn't get up by a reasonable time.  Thankfully there are a few places that I can attend that offer different meeting times.

This morning ran later than usual, which meant that I would be ten minutes late for the latest service.  Though I hate to walk in late, I decided to go anyway.
As I was driving I noticed another church, which is not a denomination that I usually would attend, who's service was just about to begin.  My car drove into their parking lot.  I felt that I was suppose to be there.
The service was not unfamiliar, as I was raised in this particular denomination, but it took a few minutes to acclimate myself.  I enjoyed my time there for the most part.  Though a few things were said and done that I disagree with, I wasn't uncomfortable.  Papa had me there so I was at peace.

It was peaceful; a much quieter and ordered church service that my norm.
The choir was filled with beautiful voices and when the congregation joined them it filled the church and seemed to continue to rise to the rafters.   Lovely.
One song was sung that stirred my heart.   The words were sung, in first person, to The LORD asking Him to remember each of us forever as ones who love Him.
I thought what else would I want Him or anyone else to remember me for, but that I love my God?!

If I continue to hang out with Jesus, His fragrance will become more evident and nobody will be able to miss it!   And since He is the Fragrant One who is doing the leading in my life I could really end up being pretty smelly!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Joy of Leaning

Come join me as I skip with joy and I'll tell you what has brought me fully back to the land of the living.

You know that chorus that closed Thursday's posting?  It spoke of learning to lean and finding more  power that one could ever imagine.   I experienced it.....Again!!

Many familiar faces greeted Ray and I as we arrived at the dinner on Thursday evening.  I always feel like I am home whenever I am with the dear ones of this ministry. 
Yet, I still felt a little off. 
After prayer by a couple of friends and some more between just Papa and me everything fell into place for me.

I knew that my God was in control and had everything in hand, including me. 

How the team of God and Debbie operate is like this:
Debbie organizes the thoughts that Papa has been giving her.  After those notes are organized all she needs to do is look them over a few times.  In reality these notes are more of an outline with key thoughts noted.  These go through her head and heart quite often until the actual event.  Then she simply needs to show up for the event. 
The key is entrusting all of the details and results to Papa and LEAVING them with Him!  Ah, yes, much easier to say than do at times!  It can make you feel a bit shakey when you don't really know all that you are going to say!  Of course, KNOWING who KNOWS is a big help...if you keep this fact in mind!

Anyway, enough with all the turmoil! 
Thursday night Papa showed up and had all kinds of things to say and to be honest I coannot even repeat all of it...I don't remember it all.
All I know is I felt such peace and joy.  I also had fun!  It is so cool when you know that people are really listening. 
I have this same experience when I visit my friends at the rehab each week.  Before we end our time together I have the privilege of sharing some words of encouragement with the whole group.  At first some of the younger or newer ones act bored or disinterested and might give each other a look to confirm this.  However, after a minute or two most, if not all, are listening closely.  Some are leaning forward, as if they do not want to miss one word.
There is nothing more wonderful than being in relationship with the Living God and exeriencing Him working through you! 

It is also very humbling.
You know that it isn't you.  It is all Him.  How amazing that He would not only desire to be in relationship with this frail, imperfect creature of His, but He choses to willingly dwell with her and allow her to be His hands and feet and voice!

No matter where I am or what I am doing, He is with me.  He is my constant companion.  I do not want to take that for granted, nor dare I!
It is my desire and prayer that it would be evident to all who cross my path!
John the Baptist once said in regard to Jesus, "He must increase and I must decrease."  My voice joins in with the same words.  To surrender to this Holy One is to truly find yourself-who you truly are.

I read something by Max Lucado the other day that got me thinking.  So often we wrongly compare ourselves with others.  There is only one standard, One to hold ourselves up against.  When we do, we realize that we fall very short.  That is our opportunity to cry out to Him and admit our failures, imperfections and sin.
What is this Holy God's response to such a cry, the cry of repentance?  He draws near, washes us clean and welcomes us into His Kingdom!  It amazes me that the Living God would have anything to do with me.  He delights to draw us into relationship with Himself.  WOW!

Then He begins to point out His promises, which are mine to claim.  One of my favorite is that He promises to never leave me, nor forsake me. 
If I remember to keep leaning, it will be more difficult to forget the promises of the One whom I am leaning on!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Haven't arrived yet!

Tuesday found me uneasy.  Between Papa and a dear friend I was able to relax a good bit. 
Yet there was still something going on in the background.
Another word from another bosom-buddy brought joy to my heart and a smile to my face!
As this morning got rolling the dis-ease was trying to take hold again.  Upon checking my email I found a word of encouragement from kindred-spirit Kathy.  It really was from Papa, but He just let her write for Him!
My God is so loving and so gracious!!

What is the source of my uneasiness? 
I am speaking tonight at the annual dinner for a local ministry that is near and dear to both Ray's and my heart.  The words have been coming from the LORD God for months.  As always I am simply his secretary.
So what is the problem? 
The enemy of my soul.  He is always trying to revive old insecurities.  He loves to throw a few doubts out whenever I step out in faith.

For years I was very self-conscious and very insecure. 
Not so much anymore.
Yet, I am not invulnerable to those old tapes.  After all I lived many years believing their messages!
When they do arise, it is an opportunity to lean harder into my God.  He is always right here and always willing to be leaned upon!  I just have to remember to lean!

The thoughts that have been coming at me question my ability and the message I plan to bring tonight.

Who are you to think you can stand before anyone as a speaker?  Remember who you are?!
Now I am Papa's child and my validity and worth are found in Him!  The past is the past; I am no longer that person!

Are you sure that this is the correct message?  I don't think this is what people will be expecting!
I tried to steer in a different direction myself, to no avail!  He kept confirming the message where ever I turned!

That is my story and I'm sticking to it! 

This reminds me of a line from old time hymn that often plays in my heart and mind.

"This is my story, this is my song...
Praising my Savior all the day long...."

Yes, it is all about Him.  It isn't my concern, nor my business how the message is received.  All I need do is obey. 
Another chorus just came to mind.  I will end with it!

"Learning to lean
Learning to lean,
I'm learning to lean on Jesus
Finding more power than I've ever dreamed
I'm learning to lean on Jesus."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Perspective

It has been a busy few days.  Monday Ray had a doctor's appointment, which was preceded by errands with a little paperwork thrown in for good measure.  (God bless those insurance and disability companies!!)

During the appointment Ray inquired, once more, about the recovery of his left arm.  The doctor answered him, once again, but more directly than in the past.  They do not expect anymore recovery; their goal now is pain management. 
My honey didn't flinch.  When asked how he felt about this fact, he replied that "it is what it is."  He continues to be Mr. Mellow, which is much better than being agitated over something he can not change.  The Serenity Prayer is something that he and I have both given much thought to in the past.  Its message seems to have made a home in my husband's heart.  Praise God!

A visit to COSTCO was something else that was on our Monday schedule.  Ray came in with me.  He wanted to get a new membership card for himself.  He lost his original card when his wallet was stolen last fall.  I don't know when he will need it, but was glad that he wasn't just sitting in the car waiting for me, as usual.
He pushed the cart.  Having only one arm to push with, impaired vision and diminished hearing made navigating a bit of a challenge for him.  There were a few close calls and a couple of traffic snarls, but all in all it went well.  He was getting extra exercise, which is always a good thing!
As we were working our way through the store I became very aware of how easy it was for me to walk from place to place.  I tried to pace myself so that I didn't end up running ahead of Ray.

Isn't so easy to take many things for granted?  
The ability to walk, to use both hands, our sight, as well as our peripheral vision, hearing, etc. are all things that I barely gave more than a passing thought.  Watching someone up close, who is dear to you, changes your perspective.

It sharpens your perspective of eternity too. 
Life brings its challenges, but then you reach a place where it all seems to settle down.  You envision what the future holds.  More free time.  Time to travel now and then, just the two of you.  Time to explore.  And time to enjoy each other with less distractions. 
Yet, as we know, the adventure does not end until we take our last breathe!

To be honest, if this life was all there was I would not be a very happy camper!
However, this is not all there is!  Thank You, Papa!
This life is a mere shadow, at best, of what awaits me and all those who are "in Christ!"

I was reflecting on all the blessings of this life earlier today. 
There are more than I can name, but let me list a few that are found at the top of my list.
A relationship with the Living God!
My precious family!
Beloved friends!
The beauty of creation!

His fingerprints are on all that makes up my life, even the tough things.  It is easy to accept His part in the beautiful things of life, but the hard things?  How can that be?  Isn't He good?  Doesn't He love me?
Some might wonder, but not me.  He has proved Himself over and over again in my life.
Yes, I get tired, I experience disappointment and sorrow, but one of the greatest blessings of my life is that I do not go through any of it alone.  He never leaves me, nor forsakes me. 
That is something that I hope I never to take for granted!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friends for All Seasons

Papa's little girl is very lighthearted at the moment.  I feel like skipping!   My heart and spirit are frolicking in a meadow that is filled with a great variety of flowers in bloom.  It is my friendship garden.
We had overnight visitors and the little girl in me is still giggling and rejoicing over the treat!
A very real treat!  One of my dearest friends was accompanying her daughter on a visit to a few prospective colleges in New England and was passing through Connecticut.  We had the joy of being a stopover before they headed home to Maryland.

We all have a variety of friends.  Papa knows that we need different people for different seasons and situations in our lives.  Kathy is an all-season, all-situations friend.  These are rare finds.
If we lived near each other we would be spending time together on a very regular basis.

What is so special about our particular friendship?

This is one of those friendships where you can pick up right where you left off no matter how long between visits.  We are on the same wave length, we both love Papa very much.

She knows me, really knows me with all my foibles and still loves me, and I her.  My friend does not have any unrealistic expectations of me; neither do I have any of her.  We make ourselves available for one another and take the time to listen, really listen.
Now and then I have thought that a good friendship was developing where the give and take would be balanced, but often it seems I end up in the teacher, counselor role with no reciprocation on the other person's part.
Not with this friendship!

But there is something else that truly sets our connection apart from most others.  We always take the time to pray together.  The recognition of the privilege and power of prayer marks our friendship.

We first met when Kathy was brought to my home to take part in a prayer group.  She and I both were very pregnant and the women all gathered around us and prayed for us and our, yet to be born, babies.
That very night I went into labor and Jonathan was delivered a little after midnight.  Kathy gave birth to her David two days later.  The story of the very close friendship of David and Jonathan is related in the Old Testament.  They truly were kindred spirits. 
Instead of our sons, their mothers entered into such a relationship!

Much has happened in the past nearly twenty-seven years in both of our lives.  We have both been learning to recognize the music of our God's grace in our lives, which is the product of those experiences.
When we have the opportunity to get together it simply heightens the beauty of the music!

Reading through the Old Testament book of Nehemiah brought me to the third chapter.  Some might think it a very dry bit of reading, as it listed those who were helping to rebuild the particular parts of walls of Jerusalem.   Papa caused me to see people who rolled up their sleeves, interacted with one another and shared their struggles and their joys through this experience.
That is how it is suppose to be.  Whatever He puts before us, we can roll up our sleeves and get involved; shoulder to shoulder while sharing in the joy of having the Living God in our lives. 
That is what Kathy and I endeavour to do!

In Ecclesiastes it speaks how two can help each other and even keep one another warm.  It then speaks of a cord of three not being easily broken.  When the living God is the cord that binds your friendship, the connection will grow, as your connection with Papa grows. 
Doesn't that just make you want to skip with joy!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Journey of Lent

The Lenten season is dear to me.  Each year I look forward to the time leading up to Easter. 
It was during this season that Jesus' love got through to me.  We began a love relationship that has become richer with time.

Every year I seek ways to help me reflect more deeply on Jesus and what He has done for me.
Over the years Papa has brought some wonderful material and ideas to me that have been very instrumental in my pursuit.  The very first year an article by Karen Burton Mains was the catalyst that set this annual focus in motion.
My prayer partner, at the time, and I took Karen's suggestion of using the six weeks of Lent to read through the book of Luke, journal what we learned and then meet on a day on which we were fasting to share and pray.
Oh! How rich it was!!
It subsequent years I have taken a number of directions; a number of which were, once again thanks to Karen and her husband.  They had developed a booklet that would take you through the season.  I think it was called "The Forty Day Adventure."  It was very beneficial to me.

Nothing was catching my attention for this year until a dear friend passed me a booklet that her church had put together for the journey that leads to the Easter celebration.  It has been a breath of fresh air!
Among the pages was a list of readings which take the reader through the book of John in six weeks.
Oh, joy!!  It was from Papa!
The first reading was the first twenty-eight verses of the first chapter of the Gospel of John.  I found myself gathering all the words that John uses to describe Jesus in this passage.
Shall I share them with you?  Of course!

Ah, this Name alone stirs joy in my heart!
Why?  Because I know Him and His character.
  • The Word
  • God
  • From the beginning
  • Creator
  • Life - He is Alive as nothing else is and in Him, so are we!
  • Light - Unquenchable Fire!
  • True Light
  • Enlightens - He brings truth to Light!
  • Gives the right to become the children of God - That is the power and authority to act as His children!
  • Glory - Brightness, majesty!
  • Grace - kindness, unmerited favor!
  • Truth - Certainty!
  • Fullness - Ours to receive!
This is just a glimpse of the One who, as John said in verse fourteen, "became flesh and dwelt among us."  Why would this glorious One leave the wonders of Heaven to hang out with mere men on planet Earth?  To make the way for us to reconnect with Him; to make the way for relationship with the Living God!  He is all about relationship. 
"He is the way, the truth and the life," as John chapter fourteen states. 
What else are we seeking?  Does't each one of us desire to know the way to go, discover the truth and really live?  Well, then go deeper and discover more of Jesus.  All we long for is found in Him alone!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Routines and Distractions

This world of ours is filled with so many distractions and it takes much effort, at least on my part, to not succumb to being pulled this way and that by them. 
We have the distractions of all the responsibilities that are ours to tend, but that is only a part of it.  Check your email or snail mail and you have all kinds of snippets of things seeking to capture your attention.  Then there is the phone (UGH!).  And if you live with anyone else, you definitely will have a few extra distractions!  We need to learn which ones and if and when we are to give them our attention.

Each morning when I arise I have a little routine I go through.  It helps me to get focused.
Open the blinds, feed the cat, feed the fish, put water on for my first cup of tea, boot up the computer, change the day-to-day calendars and empty the dishwasher.  All of this happens before I sit down with Papa.  He and I both know that I can settle down much more easily if those few details are taken care of.  Besides my cat, Chloe definitely would not let me be if I dared to neglect her!  Of course there is, also, the fact that it takes me more than a few minutes to be fully awake!
About the time that I have finished the tasks my computer is up and running and I am awake enough to focus, so I sit before it with my cup of tea in hand.  I check my email for any new prayer requests, and read a commentary from "Slice of Infinity" and a brief devotional/prayer request from "Presidential Prayer Team."  With that Papa and I settle in for a while.  It is most interesting how what I have already read often indicates where Papa and I will be focusing that morning.

As you know, I happen to live with a few people and that means that my routine, which had been done with little or no interruption, is not quite the same anymore.  Oh, I still tend to each detail, but with a little zigging and zagging thrown in, as I move from spot to spot.
Matt, Mindy and Tim all leave at different times; one after another they appear to rustle up some breakfast and pack their lunch.  Much of my morning ritual is centered in the kitchen, so if I oversleep by just a little bit, it gets interesting.
My goal each morning is to have my time with Papa before I begin to encourage Ray to open his eyes and get up.  Otherwise I am popping up every couple of minutes to check on him and that would be disruptive!  After all, it is very rude to keep interrupting a conversation one is having with anyone, let alone the Living God!

During our time together I jotted down a few thoughts, which I will share here.
As I read a devotional by David Jeremiah, my attention was drawn to one comment. 
"Satan tempts us to bring out the bad; God tests us to bring out the good." 
How very true. 
I would add that whatever we are tempted by God will turn into a test, if we are willing!  
These temptations/testings can come in all sizes.  Today held a few little ones.

I was meeting a friend for breakfast, which meant that I had to move a little faster than usual to pull it off.  I had to coax my honey out of bed an extra thirty minutes earlier than usual.  I had to fight feeling guilty for changing his schedule to accomodate me.  
Would it be a temptation or a test?

Ray had therapy today and I needed to pack his gym bag, which he reminded me of as I was about to head out.  It was time to leave, but I had to take care of it.
I hate rushing and had to remind myself to relax after I began to fuss a bit!
Temptation turned into a test!

Stopping home after breakfast before running a few errands, I left my keys on the car console.  A few minutes later I attempted to leave, but discovered that the car had locked itself, with my keys inside!  Very strange and very unusual. 
I ran upstairs for the extra remote went to the window and hit the unlock button.  I heard the lock open and saw the lights flash.  All set.
Not really.  By the time I reached the car it had locked itself again!  So this time I took the extra remote outside and immediately opened the door as it unlocked!
What was the temptation?  To become impatient and fuss about it! 
But sometimes the enemy is just too obvious!

This afternoon I planned to work on my book, which I did.  However, I actually got to it later than I intended, as a distraction showed up that I was unable to ignore.
The mail had arrived and I like to sort it as soon as I bring it in.  Amongst the pile was the new phone bill.  I opened it expecting no surprises.  Boy was I surprised!
This meant that I had to figure it out right away!
I know... but I just had to do it!
Hey, I saved thirty dollars and eight-nine cents, to be exact, off the bill!

Was that a temptation or a test or neither?  If it was, how did I do?
I may never know.

Yes, I did get to the book.  Thanks for asking!  Many ask on a regular basis, which I know is Papa sending a few nudges my way.  Thank You, Papa!

Earlier, as I was headed down the road to tackle my errands, I was debating whether to include the butcher in my trip or just settle for whatever the supermarket offered.  I found myself headed to the butcher, which I took as the answer.  Two things happened that revealed Papa's hand in the choice.

The sweet lady who runs the butcher's cash register loves Papa too.  She is usually very cheerful and we always enjoy our brief conversation while she checks me out.  Today she asked me to pray for her as she was feeling very blue, which I did on the spot!  Our loving God at work!
The temptation would have been to give her some pat answer and go on my way without a word of encouragement.
I plan to call her shortly, as I recalled something else that I had noted in my journal this morning and want to share it with her. 
When the darkness descends, keep following; Daylight is coming and it will be dazzling!

While driving to the butcher I noticed a young woman slowly walking toward me on the side of the road.  She was wearing a full backpack and was also carrying a good sized satchel and looked like she was carrying some unseen burdens too.  Since I am not the most observant person, when I do actually take note of someone or something, I know it is the LORD'S doing, so I told Him that I would offer the girl a ride, if I saw her again, on my way back from the butcher.
There she was still walking as I came up the road. 
I pulled over and asked if she would like a ride.  Her expression, which had been unhappy changed and her face lit up!   She smiled a beautiful smile and said, "No, thank you!" I blessed her and drove away.
That's all.  Nothing big, but who knows?  Papa knows and to the young woman it just might be a big deal.  All of us need to know that we have value and that someone cares about us.  Maybe she needed a reminder that she is noticed.  Maybe not.  Maybe Papa had other reasons, but it doesn't matter to me.  I was blessed because I love to be on mission with my Loving Heavenly Father.  Even when it is only a small detail in my day of distracted rountines! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

True Purification

Ray and I end our day with the devotional "Our Daily Bread" and its recommended scripture reading.  Last night was no exception.  The commentary was focused on the reading from Matthew chapter five and particularly the eighth verse.  And what could that verse have been? 
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
It appears that Papa wasn't done with the subject.  What I received from Him was the assurance that purity of heart comes from recognizing and receiving forgiveness through Jesus, His Son.  First John one, verse nine puts it this way:
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse (purify) us from all unrighteousness."
Our part is to look to Him and we can be certain that He will do the rest.
Such a comfort!  I can rest in Him.

He had a bit more to say to me this morning from the Old Testament book Malachi.
"Who can stand when He appears?  He will be like a refiner's fire."
Oh, oh... More of than refining stuff!  I was hoping for just a lot of time curled up in His lap....

How does all this go together?  How can I find comfort while going through the fire?
As always, by remembering Who this God is that I belong to and follow.  He is utterly trustworthy.  He is faithful no matter what.  He cannot be otherwise.

This One Who calls us to embrace His ways has demonstrated His great love.
Something I was reading by Max Lucado caught my attention this morning.  He spoke of God's generosity and how He doesn't simply give us what we ask for, but what we need, which is much more than we could ever imagine or think to ask for from Him.
We pray for all the concerns of this life, but who among us would have prayed for the sacrifice of Jesus to atone for our sins?  Our God looked beyond what we asked for and saw what we needed. 
We ask for temporal things, things that will pass away; He answers with eternal blessings, eternal truth that lasts for...eternity!

This God is worthy of all we are and have.  He is worthy of lives that reflect and honor Him.  When we do this we discover His heart and in the process we begin to reflect Him to those around us.  Each and every one of these precious people need to encounter Jesus.  If they don't the eternity that awaits them will be devoid of His Presence.
His pure heart cannot bear the thought.  Ours shouldn't either!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In Process

An unsettled feeling has kept me company for a good part of this day.   I have felt vaguely disconnected and that makes me a little grumpy, which in turns causes me to be very quiet.  I have learned to be a person of few words when the words that might be first to pass my lips may just reflect my 'not too cheery' disposition.

After dinner I checked the TV listings for the evening, which is pretty extensive.  It wasn't surprising when nothing was found worth viewing.  Netflix was no better. 
I recalled a flash drive a dear friend had left with me.  She had a number of her pastor's sermons on it and thought I might enjoy listening to them. 
This is how Papa desired me to use my time.

He knows that I am usually not overly thrilled when someone passes a book, CD, etc. to me unsolicited.  I always have a pile of my own that I am working my way through without adding something I hadn't even been considering.

Now and then something comes my way and I know it is from Him.  Often I know because of the spirit of the messenger.  The flash drive's owner has such a sweet, pure spirit that I knew there was no hidden agenda and that it was definitely our Papa at work.

How blessed I am to have such friends!  If friends were flowers then my garden would be filled with a riot of color and fragrances!  Each precious one is uniquely beautiful.   What a gift friendship is!

In opening the drive I discovered quite a few messages, including a few sets of series.  One immediately caught my attention.  It was on purity of heart.
The speaker's focus was on seeking God with a pure heart, a heart that wants Him and His way above all else.

I started to think about how easy it is to get off track.  So often the true motive behind seeking Him is our comfort.  Then there is everything that comes our way to distract and derail us.  At times I have found that while I thought I was on track, in truth, I was going along on the rutted path that runs near, but definitely not on the track!

Purity of heart entails looking fully to Jesus.  When we do He gives us eyes to see as he sees.  As we truly see, all the 'stuff' of life will be put into perspective and all that is of true value will be much more evident to us.
As we look to Him and trust Him He will be free to work in us.  The work will involve more purifying. 
My friend's pastor spoke of the process of purifying which does not add anything, but removes impurities. 
That involves heat.  To purify gold, it must be heated up until the impurities surface.  Then they can be removed.  The refiner keeps at the process until he can see his image in the gold's reflection.  That takes quite a bit of heat, but the final result is a thing of beauty!

So did this message address the unsettled feeling that I was grappling with?  In part, yes.

Until this past year I was free to spend time with Papa unhindered.  It was lovely.
Now it is rare that I am alone and even when I am there are so many responsibilities vying for my attention that I often give into them.
Yet, those are empty excuses. I need but "Be still and know that He is God." 
He meets me every time, at every turn. 

When I am tired, which I have been for a while now, I am more vulnerable to the enemy's suggestions.  I continue to have this miserable cough.  Mindy suggested I see the doctor.  I just might do that this week.

To be honest, another part of this unsettled feeling came from being with some of my long-time friends in the past few weeks.   Papa has been reconnecting us and I have been realizing how much I miss them! 
Silly me.  I spend too much time in my head and then limit the blessings that He intends for me.

Ah Papa, I am so glad that You love this child unconditionally. 
Thank You for the refining process. 
It will be a privilege...No! ..the ultimate privilege for You to be able to see Your own reflection in me some day!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Powerful Words

The word leapt off the page and grabbed my heart. 

What kind of word is this?  Where is it from?  What does it mean?
It is from the language of the Kuria people, who are found in Tanzania.
A dear couple have worked among them for quite a few years.  Many of us have been praying for them, as they seek to share the good news with the Kuria.
It has been slow and hard going, but they have patiently loved them and waited for hearts and minds to be open to learn of the Living God.  He and His ways have been foreign to these people, but less and less with time.
One of the leaders expressed the desire for them to Gotakia him and his people.  He admitted that they had no peace and they need help.  He recognized that the message my friend brings them holds the answers they need.  When I read the meaning of this word I rejoiced.  It means "to invigorate, to shock, to Bring Back to Life!"
God is so amazing and gracious!  He is always at work!

I know what it is for God to Gotakia me and I rejoice to hear that He is at work there too.  I am so excited for them!  This is Good News!  There is nothing to compare to it!  
It is why I maintain this blog.

At the age of twenty-eight I encountered the Living God and fell in love with Him.  How did that happen?  He Gotakia-d me!
Since then I have never been the same.
Shortly after being brought back to life I was reading a short devotional that quoted a chorus from a song.  It went like this:
"What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, Since Jesus came into my heart! I have light in my soul for which I had long sought, Since Jesus came into my heart!"
My response, as I read it, was to say, "Oh, yes!"
The change was wonderful; it was one I had been seeking after for a long time.
Only thing is that I hadn't known it.
Yet, deep down I had and my heart of hearts was confirming that truth.

After learning this new word, I spent some time talking with Papa.  I have asked Him to Gotakia quite a few people!

You know the spoken word is very powerful.

I have long thought how wrong that old time child's rhyme is.   You know the one about "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me?"  Words have hurt me many a time.
They have also brought healing and hope.

God created by His spoken Word.
Jesus is The Word.
In John Seventeen Jesus prayed for those who would follow Him.  That prayer is as fresh today as when He first spoke it.  I believe that prayer echoes through the ages. 
God actually stores "the prayers of the saints" under His altar in Heaven.
So I know that when I speak, He listens and doesn't forget what I have asked.  If I have been listening to Him and letting His Spirit direct me, then I am asking what He desires and I know that He is at work to bring all of it to pass!

I want to end by sharing the verse that spoke to me this morning.  It is found in Ezra the seventh chapter, verse twenty-eight.
"Because the Hand of the LORD my God was on me, I took courage."
He is with me, so as I face every day,  I seek His face in confidence that I am not alone.  The One who did the work of Gatakia in my life will never desert me!  We are a team!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Woven Stories

Don't you just love a good story?! 
I do.
Time and again I return to the same authors because I know that I am almost always guaranteed a good read.  They know how to tell a story.  The weaving of all the details into a story that flows and intrigues is a gift, whether fiction or not.

Papa is the best weaver of stories.  He is not simply a good storyteller, nor are any of His stories fiction, but they are vibrant with life, real life! 
Each of our own stories are best when we allow Him to do all the writing.  I am realizing more and more how much better my life is when I leave it in His Hands to unfold as He knows is best.  As I pray for my husband, sons and all of the rest of the dear ones He puts on the list, I often simply lift them and their situations up to Him without trying to give Him direction.  :)  Can you imagine Him needing our direction?!  Ah, but don't we try?

Many would not believe that many a wonderful story is found in the Bible.  Another thing they may not realize is that you don't have to read it in King's Jame's English anymore. 
In the book of Ezra, as I read this morning, the part of the story reported in the sixth chapter made me smile.  It tickled me.
Let me give you a synopsis in my own words.   God's people had returned to Jerusalem, under God's guidance, to rebuild the temple of God.  It is no surprise that there were those who opposed them and their work.  At one point the opposition had caused the work to cease by stirring up the king.   The people became discouraged and did not put up a defense.  Down the line the LORD sent two of His prophets to encourage them and the work started up again.
Now the enemies, once more, complained to the king and expected him to respond as in the past by stopping the work.  This time, because it was God's timing, the king not only did not stop the work, but told the complainers that anyone who opposed it would be killed and, oh by the way, they were to supply the money and materials for it to continue and please through in all the animals for sacrifices too!
This story did not turn out as the opposition expected at all.  That is so like Papa.
When we turn something over to Him and look to Him in faith, He is free to do wonderful things on our behalf!  You see, God is for us!

He shows up in love every time. 
Because He is love. 
End of sentence.
The trials and tribulations just amplify His love.
The Almighty God is all-powerful and that power is available to us because He loves us.

How I long for every single person to get that for themselves!  Everywhere I look there are struggling people, who feel hopeless and alone.  It doesn't have to be that way, not at all!
Right now my precious sister, who is grieving the loss of her only child, is dealing with her dying dog.   She has become undone over it.
It is a heart breaker to lose your pet.  Some people will not consider another pet after the experience.  I understand, however, there is comfort available for all our griefs.

My God promises to work all things out for good for those who love Him.  Once a person allows this wonderful God into their lives they fall in love with Him.  He is irresistible.  And once Papa is welcomed into a life, oh my (!), what an amazing story He weaves!

Father, I cannot help but praise You!  Thank You for Your amazing love!  Thank You for Your Presence and thank You for desiring to write my story!  Have Your way, LORD.  Life is so rich and blessed with You writing the adventure and I've heard the ending and it is lovely!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Writer of Our Story

At times, being a mother is not easy.   As our children become independent and become adults it can be down right difficult! 
For years we guide and correct and nuture them.  With time we have to gradually let go.  Often I have told others that our goal in parenting is to see our children become independent, viable citizens.  It is often a challenge to let them be independent.

I work at keeping my opinions to myself, unless asked, and not try to "fix" the person or situation.  My goal is to keep my hands off. 
A lofty goal.

In the past two weeks our two single sons ended their relationships with their long-term girlfriends.  It is so hard to see and hear them struggle through the pain; one at a distance.
On top of that I miss the young women.  I love them.  They had become part of our family.
No more.  At least for now.

Papa and I have been having quite a few conversations about these two situations, as well as a few other issues concerning these young men.  I know that I can and must trust Him to guide my guys and that His plan and will are tatamount to mine for their lives.
Yes, indeed, I know that, but oh, I am itching to meddle!
I want them to be happy and I desire to see them live in such a way that totally honors the LORD.   Do I truly know what is necessary for these two things to mark their lives.  It goes beyond knowing our God.  It involves placing all the little details that add up to one's life into His Hands.  I cannot do that for them and if I try I simpply end up in the way.

Someone quoted Beth Moore, the Bible teacher and speaker, the other day.  It seems that Beth was struggling with "letting go and letting God" where one of her children was concerned.  Papa spoke these words to her heart, "Beth, have the courage to let me write their testimony."
I felt as if He was speaking these words to me.  He is at work in my sons' lives and I do not want to get in the way.

I want Him to write my story also.

Over the years Papa often has had to return to a simple message for me.  "Be in the moment." 
It is not the same as living for the moment.  What it means for me is that I need to be aware and alert.  Sometimes I am so absorbed with my thoughts that I am oblivious of what is going on around me.
Visually I have a problem seeing details.  I find it difficult to find one item out of a selection of many.  That is how Papa created me.
The real problem is when I miss the details of life: What someone is saying, how they are feeling, or even how I should be using my time.
When I get lost in my thoughts I have a harder time hearing what He is saying to me, how He wants to lead me.
The key is to bring all those thoughts to Him.

This relationship with the Living God is a moment by moment one.  Or at least, it should be. 
It needs to be!
Whatever the struggle or challenge the way to victory is with and through Jesus alone!

Friday, March 4, 2011


Looking around at the faces that surrounded me I saw a hunger, a deep hunger for truth and for healing.  They seemed to be drinking in the message that I had the privilege to be sharing with them.
What was that message?  It was the message of hope, a certain hope.  It was the Good News.

Each face reflected the difficulties that their choices in life had brought them.  Their choices had found them with bottles and/or drugs as their companions; as their comforters, ultimately their masters.  Because of those choices these precious ones found themselves confined to a long-term rehabilitation program.  Some are there by choice, some are habitual rehab-ers and some are there to appease either court or family.

Papa and I love to go to visit these dear friends.  It is such a joy to love them.  Papa's love is unconditional.  He sees what everyone of us can be.  He understands the pain and struggles of each life.  He sees our hearts, looking beyond the dross that has accumulated as we have gone through life.

Over and over He reconfirms that it is His desire that I spend time at this particular rehab.  Today, as I headed over there for my visit, I had a headache that would not quit.  The barometer was indicating a rise in pressure and it was all going on in my head!
A good friend told me that she would pray for the headache to lift.  I realized a little while ago that it had done just that before I even had arrived there!
God is so good and gracious!

This evening I have begun to read a book that my same friend had passed on to me.  One of the chapters referenced a passage in Luke Nine.  The final verse, sixty-two spoke a whole message to me by itself.  "But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
It stirred a number of thoughts. 

I read somewhere that when a person is plowing, to ensure a straight furrow, they have to keep their eyes fixed on one point.  Imagine what happens should they look back while plowing?!  Such a mess!

Now imagine either looking down the whole time or being distracted by whatever crosses your path.  Again...What a mess!!

My friends at the rehab have spent much of their lives looking down.  They have felt ashamed.  They have felt worthless and hopeless.  They have not known that there is something, actually, Someone that they could look to for direction.  Their furrows have been anything but straight.

They are not alone.

Who among us has plowed nice straight lines in this life?  At times, we might get fixed on a goal and plow a pretty straight furrow for a while, but not for too long.  Life happens. 
Distractions come and suddenly we realize that we are way off target.    Another realization might come, that the target was not really the right one.

When Jesus is the One we look to we will never be disappointed.  And even when we look away and the path gets a little crooked?  Ah...He will work it out for good!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


How does March thirteenth at five PM sound for another potluck?  Once again, no RSVP is necessary, simply come to our door and ring the bell!  The theme is Irish, of course.  Hey, It is Saint Patrick's month, isn't it?!  So bring a dish of something with an Irish flavor to it and join us for fun and fellowship.
Following the potluck, around seven PM, we will have a time of prayer and praise, with those who would like to stay and join in.

Some might ask what the prayer and praise is about. 
I have learned that there is much power in praying to the Almighty God.  He hears and answers every prayer.  Of course, the answers come in His time and in His unique way.  Something else that I am learning is not to limit my reception of those answers.  I wonder how many answers have been left unclaimed because they came in an unexpected way?  How many times have I been so set on the answer I wanted that I totally missed the better one that was waiting for me to receive it?

In my last posting I promised to share more of what Papa has been saying to me of late.  It ties into this discussion on His ability and willingness to answer our prayers.
In the Fourth chapter of John we find the story of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman.  The woman was thinking on a purely material and practical plane.  Jesus was seeking to draw her thoughts and attention beyond the impossibilities of man and to the "all things are possible for God" level.  When she realized Who Jesus was, which was the long promised, long awaited Messiah, all the self-imposed limitations fell away and she got really excited!  The One Who stood before her was not merely another man, but He was the One Who knew her, loved her and offered her real life!  And He was able to deliver!
The One Who the woman encountered is the same One Who made the way for all of us to be able to seek God for ourselves; He made the way for us to enter the Holy of Holies to petition our God ourselves.  What is really cool is that Jesus sits at the Father's right hand petitioning for us Himself and the Holy Spirit takes our prayers and fills in the gaps by expressing before the Father what is truly in our hearts!
In that Light I am motivated to bring all things to Him in prayer.
Another encouragement to pray is found in  the book of James.  We are told that God's wisdom is always available to those who ask for it.  Yes, we just have to ask!

All of this wonderful truth is part of the reason for the Praise.
He is worthy of praise, honor and glory simply because of Who He is; whether He drew near us or not.  Yet the King of Kings is not some distant God.  No, He is right here and is always seeking a more intimate relationship with His child.
He is irresistible!

By the way, He, as always will be the guest of honor at the potluck!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Papa has been speaking and it has left me breathless...
My heart is racing from joy!

Want to know what He has been saying?

So glad you asked!

I am going to work backwards because I cannot wait to share what I heard this very morning!!

One little word in one little verse did it.
The fifth verse found in Psalm One Hundred Forty-Two:

I  cried out to You, O LORD: I said, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living."

Over and over He has proved Himself to be my refuge, but what is this about my portion?

A portion is one's territory, an inheritance, legacy, reward.
An old African-American Preacher said, "There's no living in the land of the living like living on the living God."
How does one live "on" the living God?  Well, He and His Truth are our foundation and the Rock which we stand upon.  It is the most satisfying place to be.  Nothing fills the longing of our heart so fully and so well.  You see, the living God has called us to live now!  He lives with us and longs to do so in every area of our lives.

I wandered around in the Old Testament for a while looking for more information on this portion business.
In Numbers and Joshua we learn that the priests' portion was the priesthood itself.  What does that tell me?  Well, to begin with one of my favorite verses in First Peter says we are "a royal priesthood," so this verse is applicable to us!  Being in the place He has for me, doing what He has called me to do is very satisfying.  Yes, a very satisfying portion!
Let's read Psalm Seventy-three, verse twenty-six: "My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
We get to enjoy Papa as our portion forever!!!
What response can we have to this great gift?
Psalm One Hundred Nineteen, verse fifty-seven is a very apt one:  "The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words."
How can we do anything else, but honor Him by keeping His Word?

Another nugget that I mined is so precious:
Lamentations Three, verse twenty-four:  "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."
Right in the midst of distress, which is where the writer, Jeremiah, was, he could enjoy and rejoice in God his portion!  So can I (we)!

Does this stir your heart?  I hope so!  He is our treasure, our portion.  No matter what the circumstances, which are always temporary, He is with us and He is forever!

Oh, one more thing...
In Deuteronomy I discovered that God says that His people are His portion.
Think about this...
He considers us so valuable that He claims us as His portion!!

More of what He has been showing me will have to wait, as the clock is indicating that it is time for me to get moving.  I intend to do all my moving within my portion today.  How about you?